Kenya’s Future Economic Prospects Hinged on Youth Entrepreneurship, KCB Group CEO says

KCB Group is seeking fresh partnerships to deepen its investments in youth entrepreneurship, the Group CEO Joshua Oigara has said adding Kenya’s future economic prospects are largely reliant on how best the country taps into the potential in the young population.

Speaking while addressing over 1000 high school students attending a one-week mentorship forum organised by the KCB Foundation, the Bank’s social responsibility arm, Mr Oigara said supporting youths into entrepreneurship will guarantee their future while giving the country a critical mass of human capital to drive growth.

Entrepreneurship is turning out to be the engine of emerging markets in Africa and especially in Kenya through job creation, said Mr Oigara. Young people in Kenya and on the continent at large are more upbeat about their ability to become entrepreneurs than their peers in any other region and therefore the need for us as private sector players and investors to pat their backs by either making access to finances for start-ups easy or by offering mentorship programmes and supporting their business growth, he said.

The mentorship forum which kicked off this morning at the Alliance High School brings together over 1000 high school students, from various schools around the country. The one week camp will give the students the opportunity to gain critical skills designed to nurture their creativity in entrepreneurship.

KCB Group is running a Ksh50billion youth employment programme dubbed 2Jiajiri which is expected to create at least 2.5 million jobs in the next five years by supporting upcoming entrepreneurs through training, mentorship, business incubation and funding.

Other speakers at the forum argued for greater partnerships between the private sector and the government to create employment, mentor entrepreneurs, improve labour market policies and re-orient education and training systems to vocational and technical training areas as a means of promoting job creation.

Mentoring is important, not only because of the knowledge and skills students can learn from mentors, but also because this provides an opportunity to network with professionals in various fields, as one progresses to tertiary education, said Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education Science and Technology.

KCB supports projects aimed at improving access and quality of education for needy students through provision of scholarships, learning materials and school infrastructure for public schools. The scholarships will cover tuition fees, school uniforms, learning materials and mentorship activities for the four year period. This year alone, the Foundation is spending up to KShs. 100 million on scholarships for the 2016 cohort and the over 800 students currently under the lender’s support in secondary schools.

The youth mentorship boot camp which is a partnership between the KCB Foundation and Global Peace Foundation is a fulfilment of the role of youth in achieving the 2030 sustainable development agenda, that seeks to end extreme poverty through imparting skills that will help the youth become the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Statistics show that in Kenya, 75 per cent of new post-secondary graduates fail to find jobs in the highly competitive labour market. Employers cite lack of twenty-first century skills as the critical issue.

There is a lack of available jobs suited to entry level skills due to a mismatch between the number of young people seeking work and the level of local economic activity. Empowering youth to become self- reliant, will ultimately lead to meaningful businesses, said Dr. Manu Chandaria, Patron, Global Peace Foundation.

The leadership and entrepreneurship forum”which is part of the KCB Foundation’s scholarship programme” will see the students get advisory on business ventures and social enterprises.

It is the young people who have built some of the world’s greatest innovations, riding on a wave of technological advancement. A More than ever before, technology is transforming Africa and unlocking its potential said Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology. We are increasingly infusing technology in all aspects of the economy and this revolution is being driven by the youths said Mr Mucheru.

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